Juneteenth celebrations largely died out during Jim Crow;some historians theorize segregation made the holiday too difficult to observe. But they say the civil rights movement brought national recognition to it later. The catalyst was the Poor People’s Campaign, held in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968. The effort included a march on Washington and construction of “Resurrection City,” an encampment meant to draw attention to economic inequality and poverty. The final ceremonies included a Juneteenth celebration. And the late folklorist William Wiggins Jr. said those activists took Juneteenth back home with them. “It was, in effect, another great black migration,” he told Smithsonian Magazine in 2009.
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